Jan 19, 2011

Powerful quake trembles region, tremors felt in Karachi

ISLAMABAD: A powerful earthquake of magnitude 7.2 shook various parts of country early on Wednesday, jolting residents of cities as far apart as Delhi and Dubai, but the epicentre was far from major population centres.

The US Geological Survey said the quake was more than 80 km (50 miles) underground, close to the town of Dalbandin in Balochistan province, near the Afghan and Iranian frontiers.

In Dalbandin, several people were injured when the roofs of their houses collapsed, provincial Transport Minister Amanullah Notizai said, but so far there were no reports of fatalities in the quake which hit at 1:23 a.m. (2023 GMT on Tuesday).

As dawn breaks and officials reach the affected area, more damage and fatalities may be revealed in an area where traditional simple structures may have fared badly under the strains of the powerful tremor.

In Quetta, 331 km (205.7 miles) northeast of the epicentre, a woman died at a city hospital from a heart attack following the quake, hospital officials said.

In Karachi, 400 km (250 miles) away, people woke and rushed out of their homes in very cold conditions, reciting verses from the Holy Quran after the tremors hit at 1:23 a.m. (2023 GMT on Tuesday). The authorities there had no immediate reports of casualties or damage.

An official at Edhi Foundation, said there were no reports of any damage.

"I was sleeping when the quake struck and I felt like my bed was shaking. I got up and ran to check the children...and thankfully they were all okay," said Masooma Rizvi, a housewife. "It was very scary. I have never felt anything like this before."

In an ominous indication of problems for the small towns and villages of Balochistan, however, people in India's border province of Rajasthan said cracks appeared in the walls of rural dwellings. The simple structures common in the area closest to the quake may fare badly under the strains of major tremors.

"There could be aftershocks during the next week -- there are active fault lines in Balochistan, said country's chief meteorologist Mohammad Riaz."

The Pacific Tsunami Center said the onshore quake had not triggered a tsunami in the Indian Ocean.



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